Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Outrageous!

I can't believe that this the IOC will permit this to happen:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/31/sports/olympics/31china.html?ref=world

This offers further proof of just how restrictive and corrupt the Chinese government is. I imagine, that before this is through, that this will be just one of many major embarassments for the P.R.O.C.

Frank Discussion

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/30/frank.marijuana/index.html

Finally, we're getting somewhere. Please keep in mind that I do not use drugs, and certainly would never try marijuana, however I feel that most drugs should be legal.

From the article:
Current laws targeting marijuana users place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans, said Frank, flanked by legislators and representatives from advocacy groups.

I think the absurdity of punishing marijuana vendors but not users will force the issue to head in the next decade. I agree with Frank about the undue burdens, punishing ill people, but that it "unfairly" affects African Americans is bunk. They are just as responsible before the law as anyone else; this is no question of fairness, it's a question of obeying a stupid law. You can't assign "victim" status to someone who breaks the law. Rubbish!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Irony

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/07/29/bali.appeal.ap/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

While the knee-jerk side of me says, "Fark 'em; I hope it hurts," the rational side of me says that they might be right. I would not let them be beheaded though; convicts are convicts--they shouldn't get to choose their own death when they cowardly bombed civilians.

Stuff like this makes me angry at the world. I support the death penalty, but I hate that we ever have to use it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Best Commercial Bread Ever


While the best bread I've ever had came from the kitchen of Gove and Nikki Allen (or that one panadería on the edge of Leon XIII and Cuatro Reinas, Costa Rica), while here in DC, I've stumbled across the best commercial bread I've ever tasted. Milton Bakeries "Multi-Grain Plus" bread. Wow!


I want to take about four loaves home with me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Brief Review: The Dark Knight

I saw the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight the other night, and man, it was amazing. The hype is valid. Heath Ledger's performance is beyond wonderful, and Maggie Gyllenhall does a lot with a thin role. Ledger's Joker takes over every scene, slowing down the action, making you forget the makeup, that it's Heath Ledger, that he's dead. You only realize at the end how sad it is that he's gone and can't reprise his masterpiece. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are great as usual, and don't get the praise they deserve for the fine acting they always deliver.

I recommend this movie for everyone over age 10.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Johnny Mac's Last Fishing Trip


I don't remember taking these, but I found some photos I took of my dad's last fishing trip, one year ago this week. It was a complete surprise; since he and my mom weren't in Florida. Papa and I went to the peer to go fishing, and there was my dad. In retrospect, it's one of my best memories that he came down and did that. Within three months of these photos, he would be dead.




Apalachicola Bay, no finer fishing!

Lardass Hogan Redux

So, today as I walking into Locke Hall on Howard's campus, some young men decided to add sound effects to the supposed vibration my footsteps were causing, al estilo de Lardass Hogan in Stand by Me.

I let them get away with two "boom baba boom"s; when I heard the third one, I snapped. I spun around, walked straight towards them, singling out the leader. I yelled at him, "You think it's funny? You think you're a big man for making fun of me?" He wilted, coward that he was, and wouldn't make eye contact with me, as he sought an escape route. I could've called him names; I could've bullied him--cut his balls off in front of everyone--but I didn't. I just said, "I am a professor" and walked inside.

I've since replayed the scene and wished, darkly, that I had gone further. But, that's not the right thing to do. And yet, I feel bad for what I did. I didn't do anything wrong; I defended my dignity, but I still feel like I should've just ignored it. I'm 34 and still having to put up with fat jokes.

Home, where my thoughts are waiting; home, where the music's playing; home, where my love lies waiting pregnantly for me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Look at the Horizon

The boat plunges and rises
Against the current
As the waves battle the anchor
For control

My stomach churns and sours
The brow-bone starts to ache
As the tide pushes the boat
Towards the fishing hole

My father laughs, says,
"Keep your eyes on the
Horizon, son." All that's left now
Are the memories of his soul

Now, that you've died
I'm mad as hell, and I want you back
I don't want to wait,
For judgment day,
I need my dad here
To help me perservere
He always had, his dad to ask
What am I supposed to do,
All alone now, dad?
You left me here
You left me here
You left me here
Alone

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What About Doggy-style?

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,24016421-38198,00.html

(read the headline carefully)

Here, take this one

Apparently, if you tell some people that something is a hat, they'll wear it with pride.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Remember the Sabbath

So, I could be at the John Mayer concert right now. I could be out with my friends, listening to good music, and having a great time. My friend Aaron Woods even generously offered to give me the ticket for free. Originally, I accepted the invitation, but when I learned that the concert was on Sunday, I faced a very difficult dilemma; do I go, or to I keep the Sabbath holy?

Thankfully, my friends are very understanding of my religious observances, so I had no peer pressure from them influencing my decision, though, admittedly, I did feel a little "peculiar" about turning down a wonderful opportunity. Ultimately, I had to decline attending the concert. Even though I'm sitting in their basement (feeling like Margot in Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day") typing this blog post, and not out visiting the sick and needy, or other appropriate Sabbath Day activities, I know I'm doing the right thing by not going. I'm not casting aspersions on others for going; I'm just saying that I try and keep the Sabbath, and this wasn't an easy decision for me.

In fact, I'm kind of pissed. I want to go. I'm only not going because of my temple covenants, what my children might think of my decision, and the thought that my Dad might be watching from On High and be disappointed in my choice. But, let's not be mistaken here, this isn't really willful obedience, delighting in the Sabbath, not at all; I'm not saying all this so people will heap praises on me for "doing what's right" (because wouldn't that kind of be a sin too?); nor is it me bragging about taking a stand; no, this is something else. I'm torn; I don't want to be here typing this; I want to be Waiting on the World to Change; I guess remembering the Sabbath starts with acts like this.

Mark 2:27

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

We Need a Word

that means when you have nostalgia for a time and place you never inhabited.

And

another for nostalgia you have for a time and/or place that never existed.

I welcome any suggestions.

Pocketknives and the Hope Diamond

So, the other day Norman and I went to the National Mall to see the sights. Apparently something happened on September 11, 2001 that precludes citizens from carrying pocketknives in museums. I have carried a pocketknife, on and off, since I was about 13 years old. I didn't even think that I would have to pass through metal detectors to get into the Smithsonian Institution museums. When I got there, my heart sank. I carry a Gerber 3" knife everywhere I go. My dad bought us matching knives when we went to New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, and I didn't want to give up the knife. There is nowhere to "check" the knife, no lockers, no anywhere to leave it.

I didn't know what to do. I had traveled two hours from my cousin Robby's house in La Plata, MD to meet Norman. I left my car at a Metro station a full hour away; there was nowhere to leave the knife where I knew that I could retrieve it after my touring. So, I sat down along these stone barricades in front of the Museum of Natural History to think about what I could do. While sitting there I realized that the grass was unusually tall, and that if I dropped the knife flush up against the backside of the barricade on the grass side, I might be able to leave it until I was done. So, I dropped it, after looking around and "casing" the Capitol police like I was a common criminal. I worried that if one of them saw me leaving my knife, I might get arrested for breaking some unknown arcane law about who knows what and be branded the terrorist that the Department of Homeland Security already thinks I am; for those who don't know, I get pulled for extra security every time I fly--too many John Williams on the watch list I guess.

But, I sat there for 15 mins, waited until the guard turned around and dropped it. Norman and I went to all kinds of museums, gardens, galleries. At the end of the day, eight hours later, we went back to see if it was still there. Aside from costing $25 to replace, it was one of the last gifts my father ever gave me. I hoped that I had gotten away with it.

We walked up; I bet Norman a penny that it would be gone.

I lost the bet.

She's in my pocket as I write this. No, it's not a weapon; it's a tool that I use daily. Metal detectors at museums do not make you anymore safe. No way.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Terminology

So, Dr. Mbare Ngom, a Equatorial Guinean scholar, who is lecturing to us today and tomorrow, has given us an assignment to come up with a term that will describe the different types of African literature produced by Spanish-speaking Africans. Here goes:

Since we are talking about people born in Africa who live in Africa (or are at least in exile from their homes) the blanket term "Afro-Hispanic" literature isn't appropriate because it includes all of the persons of African descent who live in the Americas and write in Spanish, as their native language.

Therefore, to clarify, I propose the following:

1. African Hispanofone Literature, for anyone who is from Africa and writes in Spanish.
2. Guinean Hispanofone Literature, for anyone from Equatorial Guinea who writes in Spanish.
3. Afro-Peninsular Literature, for anyone living in Spain, of African descent writing in Spanish.
4. Mauretanian Hispanofone Literature, for anyone living in the North of Africa who writes in Spanish.

Any other terminology seems to run into stumbling blocks, or they place us jogging on Steven Pinker's euphemism treadmill.